When I think of teamwork and what it takes to really make a good team, a certain story always comes to my mind.
Two summers ago, I headed back to Kanakuk Kamps in Branson, MO. to be a counselor. I have grown up going to this camp and some of my best memories are at this incredible place.
Kanakuk Kamps is a Christian sports camp where kids have the opportunity to grow spiritually while having the time of their lives. It’s an outdoor adventure for boys and girls of all ages.
Working for this camp was truly one the most amazing experiences I have ever had, and a lot harder than I thought. When I arrived in Branson, I was told I was going to be the counselor of Kabin 2! I couldn’t have been more thrilled! My co-counselor, Rachel and I were going to have a cabin full of ten little girls, ages ranging from eight to ten. Little did we know that this was going to be a summer that changed our lives forever and was going to force us to dig deep inside in hopes that our sweet little Kabin 2 didn’t all kill each other one day and leaving Rachel and I to write to all their parents explaining that their daughter didn’t make through this year of camp.
Quickly, we realized our cabin was extremely diverse. And, diversity is great thing! However, the tricky part about diversity is figuring out how to make it work. How can you let each person be who they are, and contribute to the team (or in my situation, the cabin) without one person thinking that they are better than the other and hurting the others feelings?
We had so many different personalities in our cabin and this became quite a challenge for Rachel and me. We had everything from really dominant personalities, bullies, divas, shy-homesick girls, and girls that just really wanted to have fun. So how were Rachel and I supposed to make all this work? We tried everything from talking to each of the girls, discipline, rewards for good teamwork, we put verses and sayings around our cabin about teamwork and friendship as daily reminders that we need to get along and work together despite our differences. Well, none of that seemed to stick. So, Rachel and I had to take drastic measures. We called in help from the boy’s discipline leadership and decided Kabin 2 was going to BOOT CAMP!
We called Kabin 2 out from their activities one day and we met them down at the lake. Our girls got excited because they thought these boys were quite cute, but they had no idea what they were about to encounter. They were told what they were about to do and they had a look of ultimate fear on their faces. For every challenge, they had to work together as a team or it wouldn’t be completed and if one person complained they would have to start all over. They did everything from trust falls, walking across high beams, having to carry each other from one place to the next. Their last challenge to all swim across the slue together to get a barrel and pull it back across to shore. The slue was the most dreaded water in camp … it was disgusting and they all started crying (what they didn’t know was the barrel had cokes and candy inside for them to enjoy once they completed the challenge)! Miraculously, we got the girls of Kabin 2 in the slue (they were not happy at all) and they pulled each other across that gross water with the barrel to the shore.
Relieved and enjoying some nice refreshments Kabin 2 realized a very valuable lesson. They learned that despite their differences they needed to come together if they were going to survive boot camp. And, that without the help and encouragement from even the smallest girl in our cabin, they weren’t going to get anywhere as a team. They really had to depend on each other, because Rachel and I did not help them at all.
From that moment on Kabin 2 changed, we all became a family and at the end of my term with them I cried as their parents picked them up (all in one piece) to take them home.
That summer, the girls of Kabin 2 learned that in order to have a successful team you need 3 things:
Leadership is a special quality that not everyone possesses. Leaders guide their teams in times of need to help them become stronger and show them the light at the end of the tunnel.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy,” Martin Luther King, Jr.
A creative sense keeps things vibrant, exciting, and challenges your imagination to really think outside the box. Without creativity, things can get quite boring.
“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!” Dr. Seuss.
Every great team needs support; especially from it’s leaders and even the smallest members the team.
“If you’re going through hell, keep going,” Winston Churchill.
It’s interesting, working with Catch Your Limit, that the teams we work with aren’t all that different than Kabin 2!